Godliness with contentment leads the faithful steward to a life marked by faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Content with our needs, we make faithful use of the Lord’s blessings to carry out his kingdom work. Use of money for God’s loving purposes, avoids the love of money itself. We fight the good fight to break the grasp of mammon and take hold of the eternal life to which we are called. So then, real wealth is found in heavenly treasure. Earthly riches are not a reward for doing good, but rather an opportunity to do good.
Divine Service ~ September 18, 2016 ~ The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Conclusion to the Ten Commandments)
The Ten Commandments always accuse. That is their chief use. They also serve as a rough curb against gross outbreaks of sin. But they also function as the "true fountain" from which all good works must spring. We never have to try to invent or create works to do that are pleasing to God or go beyond what he has given us. In these Ten Commandments we have the guide we need to understand what truly pleases God. Some of Luther's most powerful remarks about the difference between God's Ten Commandments and man-made Church rules are found here. Luther thunders against the pomposity and false teaching that certain "Church works" are better in God's eyes than the simple, humble, lowly works of common life, such as a young girl taking care of a little child. In his Large Catechism, Luther provides a brief summary of the commandments and again shows how the First Commandment is the fountain for all the rest. God has given us a great treasure by giving us the Ten Commandments..
Luther says that God gave these two commandments to ensure his people knew that stealing is not only the physical act of taking unjustly from another, but is also the desiring of something that is not ours, such as our neighbor's wife, servant's or any property belonging to our neighbor. These commandments are not broken with the hand or the mouth but with the heart. They remind people who consider themselves virtuous that they too, by nature, sin. Toward the end of his explanation in the Large Catechism, Luther offers a powerful and critical theological insight: All the commandments constantly accuse us of sin and reveal to us where we stand under the Law in God's eyes–guilty! This is the chief purpose of the Law, to show us our sin.
This commandment was given to protect one's name and reputation. Communicating in ways that do not uphold our neighbor's name and reputation break this commandment. The greatest violators are false preachers who, by their false doctrine, speak ill of God and his name. If we are aware of something negative about our neighbor, but have no authority to act, we should remain silent and not speak of it. However, when the proper authorities call upon us to speak to the matter, we will do so honestly. Also, if we are aware of something that requires the attention of public authorities, we will share it with them. Luther clearly states that civil magistrates, pastors, and parents must act upon hearing of something requiring their attention. Luther carefully distinguishes between secret sins and open, public sins. Secret sins should not be made public. However, when the error is open we have every right, even the duty, to speak publicly about it and to testify against the person involved. Speaking publicly about another person's public error or sin is not bearing false witness, nor is it a violation of Matthew 18. In his Large Catechism, Luther concludes that putting "the best construction on everything" is a fine and noble virtue.